For the look of Relax in a worsted weight yarn, take a look at Worsted Boxy.

Underachievers Unite!

Dear Ann,
There you go again, making all of us non-Meadors feel inadequate because we have not sculpted our daddies’ heads in Crisco, let alone a transfat-free spread. Thanks a lot! Seriously, what a touching picture of The Seven. Congratulations on pulling off such a mega-event.
Up here, things are in a sad state of No Knitting Fun. I don’t know if this ever happens to you, Ms. Print of the Wave, but I am in a vicious cycle of cast-on/hate project/wad up in a tangled heap/cast on something else. Nothing is working out right. I reach desperately for one new project after another. All is despair.
Cry Me a River
Remember the River (Rowan 38) shawl I started as I left Nashville? How super-excited I was to be knitting up some lace again, like the big kids?
river.jpg
I made it further than this, but as simple as this pattern is, I am simpler. People keep talking to me, as people will, and I cannot keep the row sequence straight. And I’ve tried 5 different brands of Size 10 needles in an attempt to find a sharp enough point to knit 2 together in Kid Silk Haze without having to do it REAL SLOW. (I don’t have this problem with Kid Silk Haze when using smaller needles, but the Size 10s are so clunky to begin with, they just don’t make them pointy enough for this yarn. Or this knitter.) For me, the whole fun of lace is the singsong rhythm of yarn over, knit 2 together, yarn over, knit-knit-knit. Like tap dancing. Shuffle-shuffle-kick-ball change. But stopping and starting, coaxing the yarn onto the needle for every K2tog, just sucks the joy out of it. So guess what? I QUIT. That’s right: QUIT. Problem solved: Project no more.
There have been a couple other projects like that. The sleeve of Raspy (remember Raspy? yes I’m still digging through the UFOs): I worked it all the way to the armhole. I was feeling smug and sassy, because I solved the problem of the Denim People book being packed away in a god-forsaken garage. Famous last words: “I’ll just use the first sleeve as a pattern!”
Do I need to spell it out for you? Quoth the Raspy: Nevermore.
And there were a couple of other false starts that make me tired just thinking about them. Knitting: you call this a hobby? You do this for FUN? It is NOT the New Yoga.
The New Poppy
But there is one old project that I did complete. I will even admit that I like it a little. I give you Poppy, from Elsebeth Lavold’s Summer Breeze collection, started in March 2005, ran out of one color, abandoned to its fate until August 2006.
poppy1.jpg
It looks a lot like the cover sweater, but I did it in Euroflax Originals Sportweight linen instead of the cotton yarn the pattern called for.
poppysleeve.jpg
Woopie! I set the sleeves in right, the first time. Life is good.
poppyshoulderneck.jpg
The shoulders were short-rowed and left on the needles. I joined them with a 3-needle bindoff on the right side. (Because I hate that ‘ditch’ you get when you bind off shoulders on the wrong side.) I finished the neck with my ‘cro-kay’ technique (patent pending). (Pick up and bind off, stitch by stitch, all the way around the neck opening. Like crochet–only fiddlier!)
poppytable.jpg
I left the seams open at the cuff and hem, for a more tunicky effect.
poppykay2.jpg
Oh, it’s tunicky, all right.
Next time I’ll remember the importance of shaping. But it fits, dammit! It’s done, and it fits, and I don’t want to hear anything more about it.
Love, Kay

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42 Comments

42 Comments

  1. Ha! See? Supernatural knitting ability! A Finished Garment Object That Fits! With first-time sleeve setting!
    What was that? Something else in the post? A mention of denim yarn to be reclaimed? I know you don’t love anything more than reclaimed denim yarn. Ooo, and some newly re-discovered Kid Silk Haze.

  2. You ran out of a colour? Tell us more, since it all looks perfectly colourful to me. I like the sleeves especially.

  3. You know, I have the Raspy pattern.

  4. I love lace. I am a lace enabler. If you are looking for pointier needles, try the new KnitPicks needles – I haven’t purchased any yet, but I hear from other sources that they are pointier than anything else, plus plated like Addi’s so you knit lickety-split. (No affiliation)

  5. You finished Poppy and you like it! There is NOTHING more to be said.

  6. ok – I agree with Amy – try the knit picks needles – they are sharp and they are a godsend – the kid silk haze doesn’t stand a chance with them in your hands :-)

  7. That is one nice sweater! I have a solution for not pointy enough wooden circs, but it does involve an electric pencil sharpener…

  8. If it fits, that’s all that’s important. And it’s purty, too! Bonus :-)

  9. I third the KnitPicks needles…sharp enough to hurt yourself on. And slick. I bought the whole set, but you don’t have to, you can just get the size 10 tips and a set of cables and go to town. I love love love them, except they don’t make the small (non-interchangeable)sizes with long cables yet. No affiliation, just a happy customer.

  10. and the DRAPE! Great sweater. Almost the perfect sweater — which I was thinking about yesterday in yet another perfectly dreadful dept. meeting. It can be good to think of knitting at times like that.

  11. Oh dear! I just got some Kidsilk Haze in a very similar color to knit River. I’m all worried now, that I won’t have pointy enough needles (I should be more worried that I don’t have a copy of that issue of Rowan!) :-)

  12. Gone through that, hate this – pull off needles – throw into the corner stage myself.
    But that sweater. BEAUTIFUL.

  13. The tunicky-sweater is fabulous. Looks so comfy.
    And not to revel in the failures of others, but you must know that it is a comfort to all of the mere mortal knitters to know that you occassionally abandon projects, too.

  14. Wow! Looks great, what a wonderful feeling to dig out and finish. I can’t wait to hear more about cro-kay!

  15. Shuffle-shuffle-kick-ball change! How I shrieked!
    That linen tunic looks wonderful! May I suggest a nice tank top underneath so that you can wear it in the Manner Insouciant? You know, let the neckline fall wherever whenever you move. It looks like that kind of garment.

  16. Love the Poppy! Cast the rest away and regret not, life is too short for regrets.
    x xx

  17. What? It’s OK to not finish a project? Is there a ceremony for this or something – some un-wip-ing of an object? All those hours should count for something. Now you’ve got me thinking…. So many things I started 2 years ago that I would never wear now. My shoulders feel lighter just thinking about it.

  18. I too have a huge wad of the prettiest Kid Silk Haze tossed in the Frog Pond. I too was doing the simplest lace pattern known to man, but for the life of me, I couldn’t talk and follow the pattern at the same time.
    Beth
    Glendora, CA

  19. Another vote for the KnitPicks needles. They saved my butt on my first [sort-of-] lace project.
    Love the tunic! Tunics are Da Bomb in my book.

  20. I love the tunic-y sweater, and set in sleeves first time, you totally rock.
    Enjoy it.

  21. Beware of KnitPicks needles. They are heavy! Really. I was using #3s circs and got such pain in my shoulders. I switched to Bryspun and they were weightless. Light knitting with air, great points but terrible joins. Then I was in a LYS and saw Plymouth needles. How long have these been around? They metal like Addis but have smoooooth joins and are light as a feather. I just love them. Now I want them in all sizes and all lengths!

  22. I’m not brave enough to try lace — but I love the sweater — I love tunicky — the tunicky the better :D

  23. Can I just thank you for admitting in a public forum that you got fed up with lace knitting? That trying to k2tog with normal needles is so frustrating you want to scream? I am sick of all these Lace Wizards who say it’s really easy. Not.

  24. The River pattern is probably the most boring thing I have ever knit. And that includes a whole whack of st st sweaters. I finally sat down and refused to work on anything else until I finished the damn thing this summer. Two weeks of utter hell. I have a few unexpected “bends” in my River where I got off on the pattern, but I’m not planning on taking it off to let people examine it that closely ;>

  25. Even when you are whining you are fun to read. We have all felt the frustration of something not working right and the disappointment. Most of us have experienced wayyyyyy more frustration than you, but thanks for sharing… makes me feel better about my own knitting frustrations.

  26. This is probably a helpful hint of the “Oh, I knew that!” sort, but maybe sombody hasn’t heard it. For any multi-row pattern, write out each row on a 3×5 note card. Number the cards at the top and stack ‘em. Then just turn over the card when you finish the row. Even when the cat dumps the cards in the floor, you can still put ‘em back in order. My mom taught me to knit about 137 years ago and this was one of the hints she passed along to me (and my sister.)

  27. It’s awesome! And drapey! And tunicky!
    And I know! I never even did my father’s head out of LARD, let alone Crisco or trans-fat-free spread. I’m such a loser.

  28. Oh, and BY THE WAY? Could Ann’s family look ANY.MORE.ALIKE?!

  29. Sorry, clearly you’re going to have to hear a little more about it: => the tunic looks awesome.

  30. OH….you forgot the part of the directions that say: “River to be knit while in Hawaii…”
    http://mindofwinter.prettyposies.com/archives/cat_river_stole.html

  31. Dear Kay
    Having knit 4 Birches, I thought River would be a piece of cake. Not so. I only got the River rolling after finding this chart http://savannahchik.typepad.com/knitting/riverKAL/riverChart.pdf
    It helped no end, even though it is River in reverse! Why, oh why does Rowan write out all their patterns word by word? (chart-lovers unite!) I also made a small sample in plain wool, which shows the knitted pattern very clearly.
    Also I took the advice from Mind of Winter (oh! her River pictures…)and changed to smaller needles and and made 4 pattern repeats instead of 3.
    A final comment: Yes, it is all worth it!
    Love
    Lise

  32. There is this cool pattern in a book I saw….. great with the crack silk haze, squiggle shawl/scarf. Just match up your yarn (thin) with a thicker one. You should try it their way cool. I knit lots of them.

  33. Oh Poppy is just lovely . NO wonder you are in that little phase that lasts so briefly. Poppy looks a bit mind boggling, or like a bit of torture if you need new reading glasses.
    Relax. The project/pattern will find YOU. Just let it.

  34. I recommend the KnitPicks Options needles for pointiness (and cable flexibility).
    I plan to post my take on the Knit-Out soon… I’ll let you know when I do. ;)
    Oh… and here’s my “dramatic” mdk washcloth photo:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/noricum/237912714/

  35. kay, like that patent-pending neckline bindoff–classy. ron is showing rudiments of spinning at knitty city saturday. would that perk you up? but maybe you already know how. -naomi

  36. Dude. I hear you on the River. Before I loved it, I hated it. If you try it again, scrap the 10’s for a 7 or an 8. I think it looks a lot nicer on a smaller needle. If you really need a River fix, though, you can always borrow mine.
    xox, J

  37. I ran into the same problem with Kidsilk Haze and Kidsilk Spray. Then someone suggested I sand the tips of my bamboo needles to make them as sharp as I wanted them to be. Just be sure to use very fine sand paper and do it very carefully and evenly. Hope this helps!

  38. The neck line finish on Poppy sounds so mych like slip stitch. I just finished the neck on Sally Melville’s favorite summer sweater and just crocheted it with slip stitch. It’s easier than pick up and bind off.

  39. Try using Denise circular needles for your Kidsilk Haze lace. I’ve done quite a lot of fine-yarn knitting with the Denise needles with no trouble at all. All sizes are quite pointy. I love them!

  40. Regarding the lace knitting where the K2tog is so difficult. Is this pattern “patterned” on each row? Some lace has pattern on the RS and only purled on the WS. Other lace has pattern on each side and I find that much much much more difficult. I frogged many hours worth (only 24 rows) of lace which had pattern on each row. It was simply too frustrating, and not fun at all. Let us know what you decide. The pointier needles from KnitPicks may do the trick, although I think there is some inherent tension in the yarn after some of those stitches are knit which makes it really difficult to knit, no matter how pointed the needles are. Good luck.

  41. I am also attempting lace using mohair at the moment so I am hoping it’ll work out!

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